We all love a good fight. Remember the crowd that always gathered round the two scrappers in the playground arguing over some fifth year girl or who had the coolest Transformer?
Even in our most formative years, fist fights managed to appeal to our primal instinct. Call it a lack of self control or too much testosterone, but boys who resorted to violence usually gained school yard respect.
Of course maturity, social boundaries and the law ensure most of us avoid turning to violence to resolve grown up disagreements, but the fascination remains.
There’s something about the sheer courage of a person who enters into the fray with only himself to rely on, no team mates to back him up or get him out of trouble. It’s one on one and there’s nowhere to hide.
No wonder boxing is such a popular spectator sport. Few of us have the guts to enter the ring, but we can experience the rush of adrenaline from the sidelines and we can admire the qualities that can make a champion without ever putting on boxing gloves.
Here’s a taster of some of the most popular fighting video games around at the moment. See if your favorites made the list!
EA Sports UFC (PS4)
This is EA Sports’ first major league sports partnership for over a decade. It’s exclusive to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and has been built by the same team responsible for the highly-acclaimed Fight Night franchise.
This is as close to the real thing as you can get without breaking a sweat.
Next generation technology allows you to climb into the mind of the mixed martial artist. If you block their first line of attack, they’ll adopt another, creating more challenging and unpredictable combats inside the Octagon.
Until now, fight simulation has been limited with little body contact. Often, the characters moved like rigid plastic action figures rather than realistic muscle-bound athletes.
But this game revolutionises the action with an all-new full body deformation system that allows you to witness every ripple of flesh and every juddering muscle. Feel the power of every strike and submission in real time.
And the game-play experience is further enhanced by real-time exertion which brings even the tiniest physical reaction to life. Popping veins, flushed skin, sweat beads and all the signs of exhaustion and fatigue are brought to life as you progress through every round. You’ll see first hand the strength and effort it takes to conquer one of the most physically demanding sports in the world.
EA Sports UFC sets a new standard for character authenticity in gaming. High resolution 3D head and body scans create top notch likenesses of each licensed character. Thanks to EA Sports Ignite, new facial animation technology brings a greater sense of emotion and expression. Characters move more realistically with fewer slips and slides while strikes and takedowns appear more believable than ever before.
Make the most of your power within the Octagon environment where you can pull off dynamic roundhouse kicks, super-human punches and the kind of strike that can change the course of a fight.
Because every good fighter knows that one sweet strike can make or break you.
Fight Night Champion (Xbox 360)
One franchise dominates the boxing game arena. Fight Night. And this latest incarnation is its finest hour.
By rights, this latest version should be dubbed Fight Night 5. But it’s so far removed from its previous version that it rightly deserves its Champion title.
Fight Night Round 4 was stunning with an astonishing level of realism. Champion takes that to another level with some of the most realistic graphics ever seen including a particularly brutal blood simulation that can have the ring awash.
This is by no means a re-vamped version of Round 4. The all new Champion Mode allows you to take control of Andre Bishop, a raw but talented middleweight. Taking inspiration from classic boxing movies, you can guide him through his career from prison brawling and bare knuckle fighting up through the ranks of championship boxing.
Make the most of the totally revamped control system Full Spectrum Punch Control. In short, you get total control of the angle of your punch using your analogue stick as well as the kind of blow you want to inflict – straight, side hook or uppercut plus everything in between.
The game also boasts a totally new reflexive blocking system. This lets you weave, bob and duck. The latest version also considers the impact of fatigue on fighters and the power behind your punches as well as your reaction times, which reflect just how exhausted you are.
And as if that’s not enough, you can switch to Legacy Mode. Create your own boxer and take on champions of yesteryear as you drive him up the boxing ranks.
You can even create an Online Gym where you can slug it out with your friends and take on other people in Rivalry Challenges were you make the rules.
Remember Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!? This was a classic old school gaming and many a young lad whiled away the hours trying to take the big man down.
Now Punch-Out!! is back and fit for the 21st century.
You still play as Little Mac; an upcoming young fighter who works is way through a variety of boxing caricatures with the help of ringside coach Doc Lewis.
So, grab a Wii remote with one hand and a Nunchuk controller in the other and step back to the future with this modern take on an eighties classic.
The revamp hasn’t lost any of the old school charm and players will recognise opponents like Glass Joe and King Hippo. But they’ve been given a 3-D facelift plus some new animations and back stories that bring them bang up to date without losing any of the fun and flair of the original game.
Of course the most obvious change is that, with the Wii console, you can throw punches while Little Mac fights back. You can control the action by combining motion control with your control stick and real-life punches can be translated on to the screen. You can use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controller to simulate punches or you can choose the classic layout from the original NES controller.
Players can even earn Star Punches which let Little Mac steal energy from his rival. You can use lots of stars in a single punch to land a particularly powerful punch.
Fighters Uncaged – Kinect Compatible (Xbox 360)
Your body is your weapon and it’s deadly!
This is the vicious world of illegal free fighting where you’ll be required to flex every muscle to defeat all who dare to challenge you.
The premise is simple. Simon is forced into a secret tournament and must draw on all the skills he learned from his boxing champion father if he is to take down the merciless adversaries determined to take him down.
There are no guns and no blades. This is full body combat at its most deadly.
Using the power of Kinect, gamers can fight using their own bodies and unleash 70 devastating moves inspired by real life free-fight combat techniques.
There are no rules – use your fists, elbows, knees and head to take out your challengers. You’ll really feel part of the game thanks to accurate body tracking that follows all your dodges, blocks and strikes.
And you can adapt your fighting style after developing your own skills and learning your opponent’s weaknesses and tactics. Move closer for stronger attacks and adjust your stance to defend yourself.
Nothing is off limits. You must be ruthless to reach Master Fighter status and be prepared to stun, blind and totally exhaust your enemies before pulverising them.
The game’s training system gives novice players the chance to get the most of the game from Day 1. Experienced players can become schooled in the moves of a fighting master deploying lethal moves.
You can even battle with others by challenging your friends, beating best records and tracking it all on an online leader board.
The Fight: Lights Out (Move required PS3)
Arguably the most realistic motion-controlled fighting game of its time, it challenges players to overcome the dark and dirty underworld of illegal bare knuckle fighting using the PlayStation Move controller and the PlayStation Eye camera peripheral.
Keep it clean with standard jabs and uppercuts or play dirty using head buts, side swipes and headlocks. The choice is yours because there are no rules.
This is a one-on-one combat game which you can play on your own or with others. Punch with the Move controller while the Eye keeps track of your head movements as you duck and dodge anyone with the audacity to take you on.
The combination of the controller and the eye gives overwhelmingly realistic control. Grapple with your opponent in a headlock, rain blows into his body or thrash his skull with elbow drops. This is a no rules brawl, so you do whatever it takes to win.
Play career mode for a change of pace. You play the role of a talented fighter looking to make it in the street fighting underworld. You can create your own character using a variety of body types and clothing. Your aim is to fight your way through the game’s 12 venues. At each stage you’ll have to defeat opponents and triumph in a final clash with street fighting boss.
Here you’ll acquire high level skills that you can use against future opponents and even online enemies through PlayStation Network.
There’s always room for a classic and this game based on the legendary Rocky anthology is packed with features, characters and action.
You’ve got all the main characters from the five films – Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang, Ivan Drago and Tommy Gunn. Of course you play the Italian Stallion himself and have to fight your way up to the title of undisputed champion of the world.
For such an old game – it came out in 2002 – there are lots of realistic features including bruises, swellings, blood and sweat.
There are 30 boxers and 250 action moves including hooks, jabs and uppercuts as well as weaves, ducks and defensive blocks, making it the perfect game for retro fans out there.
With all the graphics and animation you’d expect from a movie licenced game, Rocky packs a punch and captures all the atmosphere, thrills and spills of the original films.
Giant inflatable boxing set
Not actually a video or PC game at all, but this could be the outlet you need to satisfy the boxer deep within you.
Just blow up the massive inflatable head gear and boxing gloves and, ding ding, you’re good to go.
Make sure you have a referee because someone is going to have to control all the fun you’re going to have. That’s a promise.
If you’re ever interested in real-life boxing, check out this Boxing Training Guide from Sports Fitness Adviser.